Smithsonian Art Of Video Games Exhibit Opens With Gaming Festival

Are video games art?

The Smithsonian American Art Museum says “yes” with its newest exhibit, The Art of Video Games. The exhibit is curated by Chris Melissinos of Past Pixels, a group charged with the preservation of video game history. Over the past year, Melissinos — aided by a board of advisors that includes Double Fine’s Tim Schafer, text adventure veteran Steve Meretzky, and Penny Arcade team Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik — designed an exhibit that encourages visitors to make what Melissinos calls “a deeply personal decision” of whether video games are art. The exhibit offers five eras of video games with both playable demos and self-playing videos, showcasing everything from the Atari 2600 to the PlayStation 3, from the traditional platforming of Super Mario Bros. to the more experimental play of Flower.

The exhibit opened on March 16 with GameFest, a weekend-long celebration of the evolution of video games. Most of the opening day was devoted to a pair of panels examining the past and future of video games. Providing the historical perspective were luminaries Keith Robinson of Intellivision; Don Daglow of AOL’s Neverwinter Nights; RJ Mical, co-inventor of the Atari Lynx; Rand Miller, co-creator of Myst; and Mike Mika of Other Ocean Interactive. Together, they reminisced about when technology stopped being just a military and educational tool and became an instrument with which to create art. Anything seemed possible, if only the technology could keep up with their imaginations. Daglow remembered thinking, “If we had more than 16 colors, we could challenge Michelangelo.” But those same deficiencies are also what inspired early programmers, said Daglow: “Limitations contribute to game design; they’re our first handholds on the rock face” of a new platform.

Read the complete article  at PCWorld.